Red Dead Online is meant to be a way for players to explore the dense, carefully created world of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2. But a bug — an old one that has occurred throughout the game's lifetime — is haunting the frontier and leaving the western states oddly empty. NPCs, both people and animals, are disappearing from the world and leaving ghost towns behind.
PC Gamer reported on the bug, noting players have been reporting missing NPCs for the last week. It creates a strange atmosphere, like visiting a display home ready for purchase. Carriages with no passengers trundle down the silent streets of Saint Denis, the bustling streets of Valentine are empty, and rustic cabins are full of people's belongings, but no actual people.
This bug comes after Rockstar announced the game wouldn't be receiving significant updates as the team transitions to focus on Grand Theft Auto 6. Players responded to the announcement by hosting in-game funerals for Red Dead Online and mourning on social media. It's part of a long history of protesting Rockstar in game; in 2020, players dressed up as clowns in an attempt to plead for the developer's attention.
This isn't the first time animals and NPCs have gone missing in Red Dead Online, and the game has suffered large technical bugs before. However, with the developer pulling support from the project, some fans are concerned their game of choice may eventually fall silent, never to be fully repopulated.